IAS-research talk by Guilherme Sanches de Oliveira: “William James was not a Jamesian: James’s legacy and the boundaries of mind”

Thursday May 16 at 16:00 in Centro Carlos Santamaria Room 5. The talk will be hybrid. If you want to participate, please contact

ABSTRACT: William James (1842-1910) is widely acknowledged for his pioneering role in modern psychology and philosophy. His great influence and popularity have, however, resulted in a complicated legacy, with critics and supporters alike sometimes applying the label “Jamesian” to views that are in tension with the spirit of James’s ideas in their original context. In this talk I examine these tensions and James’s complicated legacy by discussing two cases, one concerning the boundaries of emotion, cognition and perception, and the other concerning the boundaries of habit and mind in intellectual, scientific expertise. Besides motivating a more nuanced appreciation of James’s place in the history of psychology and philosophy, this exercise also reveals the contributions that James’s thought can still make as a source of inspiration and new insights for understanding mind, life, and knowledge.

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About tvanes

Thomas van Es is a philosopher of cognitive science at the IAS Research Centre for Life, Mind and Society at the University of the Basque Country in Donostia, Spain, and the Centre for Philosophical Psychology at the University of Antwerp in Belgium. His current work focuses on enaction and dialectics. He has also published on science, autism, and the connection between enaction and the free energy principle and predictive processing.